My Ancestors (3) – Alfred Beck Guion – 1853 – 1899

(1) Alfred Beck Guion, (2) Alfred Duryee Guion, (3) Alfred Peabody Guion, (4) Judith Anne Guion

Alfred Beck Guion was born September 24, 1853, in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was the ninth child of Elijah Guion 2nd and Clara Maria de los Dolores Marina de Beck. Life must have been interesting. His father has been described as a stern, half-puritanical, New York religionist and minister, who pastored in the smaller Louisiana communities before he was called to St. Paul’s, New Orleans’ principle Episcopal church. His mother was born in Havana, Cuba, July 18, 1819. She and her mother were living at the estate of her mother’s sister, who was married to Miguel Tacon, who became the Spanish governor of Cuba in 1834. The stories of these two unique individuals will be covered in multiple, future posts.

I have not been able to find very much information regarding Alfred Beck Guion’s life in New Orleans. I did find him listed in the 1880 census as living with an aunt, Mary L. Guion, widow of Rev. Alvah Guion, in Brooklyn, New York with his occupation listed as stockbroker.

At some time between 1880 and 1884, He met and married Ella Duryee, second daughter of Joseph Woodward Duryee and Eliza Pell Beadel, a prominent lumber merchant in New York City.

The following quotes are from the Reminiscenses of Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa), written in 1960.

“From the time I was three years old until I was married, we lived in Mount Vernon, a small suburb some 13 miles from Grand Central. My only sister, Elsie, was born there in a house on 11th Ave.

             Alfred and Elsie Guion at the Chester Hill house @ 1894

Soon thereafter (about 1887-8) we moved into a brand-new house which my father had built in a newer part of town known as Chester Hill. Here I spent most of my childhood. My father, who insisted on having the best regardless of expense, was quite proud of this house. He had an architect designed it. My grandfather, (Joseph Woodward Duryee) being in the lumber business, was able to procure exceptional lumber for its construction so that each of the rooms was finished differently, one in Cherry, one in black walnut, one in quartered Oak, one in’s occasion walnut, etc., all selected for their beautiful graining. On the second floor was what we called the “round room” in which even the windowpanes were curved glass. The maids room on the top floor was necessary because in those days it was customary to hire a maid.

Alfred Beck Guion and Ella Duryee Guion (far right) and 3 unidentified women, (possibly her sisters) on the porch of the Lincoln Avenue house.


                                     Lincoln Avenue – original Fireplace


                   Lincoln Avenue – original tile fireplace hearth


                            Lincoln Avenue original fireplace – detail


                      Lincoln Avenue – original front door


                           Lincoln Avenue – original wood trim

Papa was quite active in Masonic affairs being eminently successful in this as in most other projects that interested him, was generally very popular, a good entertainer and storyteller, prominent in the local Episcopal Church of the Ascension where he was a vestryman.

        Alfred Beck Guion

He worked for a brokerage firm on Wall Street and was quite conscientious, so much so that in years of panic (today we would call it depression) losses of his clients, as well, I suspect, as of his own, worried him to the extent of bringing on heart trouble.

My father liked sea trips, one summer he took me to Nova Scotia and the Bay of Fundy with its tremendously high tides. On the voyage I saw my first whale. Later he took me to Newport News and Richmond, Virginia on the old Dominion Line.

he died in his 40s from angina that Taurus, leaving a heavily mortgaged home and comparatively little life insurance. a Masonic friend of my fathers kindly stepped in and negotiated sale of the Lincoln Avenue house for smaller house on Dell Avenue, with a small cash surplus. It entailed a considerably lower standard of living. My mother, who had a sunny, even-tempered disposition made the best of things.”

Sources: Descendants of Louis Guion, Huguenot, of La Rochelle, France and New Rochelle, West Chester County, Province of New York. A Guion Family Album, 1654 to 1976, Compiled by: J. Marshall Guion IV, Edited by Violet H. Guion, Olean, New York 14760

Colonial Origins of the California Guions, An Informal Genealogical Study, by Ernest Jerome Hopkins

Tomorrow I’ll begin posting a week of letters from 1943. Lad has arrived in California at Santa Anita Base, a newly-converted internment camp and began going to the South Pasadena Hospitality Center. Dan is in Pennsylvania surveying for the Army, Ced remains a civilian working as an airplane mechanic in Anchorage, Alaska. Dick and Dave are still living in Trumbull with Grandpa.

Judy Guion 



Special Picture # 335 – Trumbull House – Then and Now – Side Yard – 1945 – 2018

Recently I spent a night in the Trumbull House visiting with Paulette – Aunt Chiche to family and friends – and took quite a few pictures. For the next few Saturdays I will be posting pictures taken during this stay as well as older pictures of similar places taken over the years, when I have them. I hope you enjoy.

One of my bedroom windows in the attic

Similar view, maybe in the 1970’s

Martin and Flor Williams, Lad’s friends from Venezuela, 1945

Lad and Smokey, 1945

Tomorrow, in My Ancestors, I’ll be highlighting Alfred Beck Guion, Grandpa’s Father.

Next week, we’ll return to 1943, when Lad and Marian’s story begins.

Judy Guion


Guest Post – The Role of Sports: WW II by GPCox


GPCox  shares the role sports played during World War II in entertaining those left at home. Sports was a diversion from the everyday reports of how the war was progressing in the various fronts around the world.

By: gpcox

Chesterfield ad

Chesterfield ad

The movies and newsreels of WWII provided information and diversion for many at the home front, but none could provide the escape and release of stress for the civilian as much as sports.

South Florida maintained a carnival atmosphere with the Hialeah Race Track and West Flagler Kennel Club, which took in $100,000 nightly – just to prove my point.  And, somehow, travel restrictions did not deter the action at Miami’s Tropical Park.  Horse racing went on, despite the war, in every country.  All in all, racing boomed as the 68thrunning of the Kentucky Derby went off with 100,000 in the crowd.  Unfortunately, this was the same day that 68 men had been taken by the Japanese at Bataan; they were all members of D Company, 192d Tank Battalion, out of Kentucky.

The war did not stop the golfers either as the tournaments and professional tours continued.  Sam Snead, fresh back from the Navy, played in the 1944 tourney; he came in second to Byron Nelson. (gpcox met Snead at the ‘Sail Inn’ in Delray Beach, FL when he would drop in for lunch after a game with friends.)

In boxing, Joe Louis started the idea of holding a sports event for the war effort.  He announced in 1942 that his profits from the bout against Buddy Blair would go to the Naval Relief fund.  The gate was $200,000 and Louis finished off his opponent in 2 minutes and 56 seconds.  Louis was drafted three days later.

Not to be outdone, a profitable pro-football contest was held between the National League All-Stars and the

Growing up during World War II

Growing up during World War II

Chicago Bears and these profits also went to the Naval Relief Fund.  The National Football League was forced to reduce to a 42 game season in 1943 due to all the draftees, but Coach George Halas brought home two championship titles for the Bears, 1940 & 1942; while Curly Lambeau’s Green Bay Packers won it in 1944.

As during most of WWII, 1943 in New Zealand had no Rugby International matches played, but the West Coast did retain the Northern Union Cup.  England and Australia were unable to hold their tennis championships, such as Wimbledon, for the extent of the war.

In 1942, the Rose Bowl was moved to Duke Stadium in North Carolina to avoid having large crowds converge anywhere on the west coast.  Dallas, Texas had 38,000 for the Cotton Bowl that year and 35,505 amassed in Miami for the Orange Bowl: Georgia Bulldogs 46 – Horned Frogs 40.  The annual Army-Navy game brought 66,000 to Baltimore’s Municipal Stadium in 1944, when Coach “Doc” Blanchard led the Army, not only to victory, but a perfect season.

Professional baseball was as hot as ever when 37,815 fans watched the American League Browns, in Sportsman Park, beat the New York Yankees for the pennant 1 October 1944.  This made the World Series an all-St. Louis affair against the Cardinals.  Truman was there watching as the Cardinals won their fifth world crown.  The Yankees won it in 1943 against the Cardinals.

As most people are aware, the baseball racial barrier was not broken until 1947 when Jackie Robinson walked out on the field, so during WWII there were two Negro leagues.  (As they were called back in the day.)  Out of Hometown, Pennsylvania, “Josh” Gibson and Walter Johnson dominated the games.  In the Washington Griffith Stadium, he had the long-ball hitter record of 563 feet, (Babe Ruth’s record was 550’) and a .541 batting average in 1943.

Rockford Peaches - 1944

Rockford Peaches – 1944

And, we cannot close this section of baseball without mentioning the AAGPBL – the All-American Professional Baseball League, also known as the “lipstick league.”  They were the “Girls of Summer” depicted in the newspapers as “Queens of Swat” and “Belles of the Ball Game.”  They referred to each other by nicknames like: ‘Jeep,’ ‘Flash,’ ‘Pepper’ and ‘Moe.”  The league premiered in 1943 and

Dorothy Kamenshak

Dorothy Kamenshak

would last for 12 years.  There were 545 female athletes that made up the ten teams and their popularity would eventually draw a million fans.  These women have been honored by the movie, “A League of Their Own” in 1992 and finally received tribute in the Cooperstown Hall of Fame in 1988.

Young adults (the word “teenager” was not really used back then), used sporting events as a gathering spot for camaraderie among friends and also to help fill the void of adult male influence that was prevalent in so many homes.  In the “Corn Belt,” basketball ranked as the number one sport, but there was also tennis, golf, a tumbling club, fencing and even Ping-Pong clubs.  High school games were even broadcasted on the radio.  The girls would join a Booster Club to be their school’s cheering squad and wearing their boyfriend’s sports jacket was a major status symbol.

Early 1940's - Risen (TX) Football

Early 1940’s – Risen (TX) Football

Not all sports were organized.  Boys played stick ball in the city streets and in the suburbs, a basketball hoop attached to a garage door attracted neighbors.  Church picnics and block parties always included a multitude of games and sports to occupy the younger set.  Communities were kept closely knit that way, like Kerry Corner, the Irish working-class neighborhood not far from Harvard yard.  They organized their own baseball and basketball games.  John “Lefty” Caulfield formed a baseball scholarship program before he enlisted in the Navy because it had done so much for him.  Those that returned from the war became part of the ROMEO Club, (Retired Old Men Eating Out), to maintain those childhood friendships.

Capt. Glen Miller preparing for performance at 1943 Yale Bowl

Capt. Glen Miller preparing for performance at 1943 Yale Bowl

Harry James, better known as a big band leader for the ‘Swing Era’ was also a one-time Detroit Tigers prospect.  He organized his own band into a team, complete with uniforms.  Louise Tobin, singer with many of the big bands, said, “The boys were hired first because they could play baseball; second for their instruments.”  Fellow musicians said you had to have a .300 average to get an audition with Harry.  The band’s manager added, “They carried more equipment for baseball than music…  Another bus on the road would probably be a band and we’d stop and play a game.”  Mr. James gave his all for baseball as captain, pitcher and the heaviest hitter.

For the home front, living during a world war was an experience no one of today’s generation has experienced.  Judy and I have attempted to portray both the hardships they lived through and some of the activities that helped them to endure and be molded into the “Greatest Generation.”  I’m certain I have missed at least a million or so stories out there that are related to the sports of the 40’s, so let’s hear some!!

A great big thank you to gpcox for the research needed to put together this post. I hope you enjoyed it.

Tomorrow, I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1946. Dave’s homecoming is getting closer and closer and so is the arrival of Grandpa’s third grandchild over in France. 

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 326 – Trumbull House – Side Porch – Then and Now – 1922 – 2018

Recently I spent a night in the Trumbull House visiting with Paulette – Aunt Chiche to family and friends – and took quite a few pictures. For the next few Saturdays I will be posting pictures taken during this stay as well as older pictures of similar places taken over the years, when I have them. I hope you enjoy.


View of the Trumbull House from the barn, the section to the right is the original house, built in 1756, twenty years before we were an independent nation.

A similar view of the Trumbull House, year unknown.

A view of the Side Porch and the stonework done by Axel Larsen, who did odd jobs around the house while his wife, Astrid, was the Housekeeper during Arla’s prolonged illness. He lived in the Little House with his wife and daughter, Florence .

Here is a similar view, taken in 1945, The is a friend of Lad’s (with Smokey), who was at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds with Lad and came home with him on several occasions. Notice the stone railings and flower boxes.

This is Marian with one of the flower boxes taken in 1945, while she was living in Trumbull with Jean (Dick’s wife), Grandpa and Aunt Betty. Lad was in France at the time and she wanted to be as close as possible when he came home.

The Side Porch in 2018. The railings and flower boxes are gone.


This is a picture of “The Gang” on the Side Porch. Some names to remember: 5th female from the left – Jane (Claude-Mantle) Hall, married to Charlie Hall; boy in doorway behind her left shoulder – Arnold Gibson (Gibby), Lad’s best friend, who married Alta Pratt, and kept in touch their entire lives; female in the back row with only her eyes and hair showing – Barbara (Plumb) Linsley, Dan’s girlfriend for a few years but who married Pete Linsley; behind her left shoulder – Lad; to his left – Ethel Bushey, Elizabeth’s (Bissie good friend, who married Carl Wayne, who ran the Red Horse Gas Station in Trumbull Center; in front of Ethel, squatting on railing – Dave; to Dave’s left and behind – Pete Linsley; to his left sitting on the railing – Dan.


Same picture, cropped.

The steps leading to the Summer Porch, which is the front end of the Side Porch, showing the same stonework as the Front Steps and one of the Pillars.


Special Picture # 321 – Cowboys – ADG circa 1900 and APG circa 1923


Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa) riding a cow about 1900


Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) about 1923

Tomorrow, A very special Guest Post from GP Cox. who Blogs at This guest Post gives quite a bit of background on life for the American family during the 1940’s.

Judy Guion






Special Picture # 320 – Kemper Foster Peabody – Arla (Peabody) Guion’s Father – 1886

Kemper Foster Peabody (my great-grandfather) was born at Plymouth, Wisconsin, August 2, 1861. He attended Shattuck Military School in Faribault, Minnesota. He was a Civil Engineer and about five years after this picture was taken, was a member of the Second  Legislative Assembly of North Dakota. On  June 26, 1889, he married Anna Charlotta Westlin, born at Ostersund, Jemptland, Sweden, May 13, 1865.They had 7 children: Burton Westlin, Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion, Kemper Francis, Helen Perry (Peabody) Human, Anne Westlin (Peabody) Stanley, Laurence Kane and Dorothy Westlin Peabody. 


Special Picture # 318 – Dan in Venezuela with Some of His Surveying Crew – 1939


Tomorrow, I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1944. Lad and Marian are in Texas. Ced has been home but is traveling back to Anchorage, Alaska, hopefully with a stop in Texarkana to see Lad and Marian. Dan is quite busy in London, Dick is in Brazil and Dave seems happy with his new situation in Uncle Sam’s Army. Grandpa tries to keep the home fires burning.

Judy Guion 

Special Picture # 275 – Arla Mary Peabody Guion and Richard Peabody Guion @ 1923

As with most families, there are many pictures taken of the first child, less of the second, still less of the third and by the time you get to the fifth or sixth child, there re very few early childhood photos. Such is the case with Elizabeth (Biss), Dick and Dave. Here is the only picture I have of Dick that does not include his siblings. 


Special Picture # 262 – Elizabeth Beck (Guion) Randol – My Great-Great-Aunt


This is a picture of Elizabeth Beck (Guion) Randol, sister to my great-grandfather, Alfred Beck Guion, father of Alfred Duryee Guion, or Grandpa. Elizabeth and Alfred were the most prolific of  the 11 children of The Rev. Elijah Guion and Clara Maria de los Delores Marina de Beck Guion. Each has at least 150 descendants.